This is an article from the July 4, 2011 issue
The first-place Rangers can be inconsistent, but veteran Michael Young's .422 average (19 for 45) and four home runs in the last 10 games have kept Texas afloat, and will likely earn him a spot in next month's All-Star Game. Says Young of his recent tear, "I'm obviously happy with where I'm at."
J√∫lio César's first MLS goal helped Sporting improve its unbeaten streak to seven games after last Saturday's 2--1 comeback win over Vancouver, keeping the team undefeated in its new $200 million stadium, where K.C. will play 11 of its next 13 games.
PAIR OF ACES
The Yanks' CC Sabathia rocked the Rockies last Saturday (9 K's, 1 ER) while the Tigers' Justin Verlander (right) fanned a career-high 14 in Arizona, as each won his MLB-best 10th game. Who's been better? Perhaps J.V.; he's leading the AL in K's (124) and all of MLB in WHIP (0.84).
Last Thursday's NBA draft was the most-watched since 1996, while the Mavs-Heat Finals drew some of the largest viewership numbers in the last 10 years—most notably up over 33.7% from Miami and Dallas's Finals matchup in '06. But, yeah, let's have that lockout.
How's that fresh $56 million contract looking now? Adam Dunn has been a black hole in the White Sox lineup this season, hitting .173 with an AL-high 100 strikeouts and a feeble 29 RBIs. Says Dunn of his slump, "I don't even answer my phone anymore because I don't want to hear what's wrong with this and that."
NOT SO SPORTING
Chicago Fire forward Cristian Nazarit was suspended two games (and fined $500) for play endangering an opponent in a game against New England last Saturday; meanwhile, D.C. United's Charlie Davies was fined $1,000 for a blatant dive against Real Salt Lake.
THREE OF A KIND
A tough deal for Philly: Roy Oswalt (1--4, 5.81 era since June 1) was placed on the DL and is out until August. Arizona's Zach Duke has the major's third-worst ERA (7.27) in the last four weeks, and Javier Vazquez (1--3, 7.13 ERA in that span) is flush with problems in Florida.
Though 2010 pennant winners Texas and San Francisco have been bringing in more fans this year (up 411,650 and 215,392 respectively), 18 of 30 MLB teams have seen attendance drop—lowlighted by the Dodgers (down 372,083 through Sunday), Mariners (-191,883) and Mets (-144,754).
SI PLAYERS MLB POLL
WHICH ATHLETE IN ANOTHER SPORT WOULD MAKE THE BEST BASEBALL PLAYER?
Michael Vick, Eagles QB 16%
LeBron James, Heat F 13%
Sidney Crosby, Penguins C 7%
Aaron Rodgers, Packers QB 7%
Drew Brees, Saints QB 4%
Of the 31 athletes who received more than one vote, all but seven are from football (18) or basketball (six). . . . Despite not playing baseball at Virginia Tech, Vick was drafted by the Rockies in the 30th round of the 2000 MLB draft. . . . Crosby, who played baseball until age 13, hit a 370-foot homer in batting practice at PNC Park in 2010.
Based on 269 MLB players who responded to SI's survey
Facebook Fan Picks
35% TOM BRADY, PATRIOTS QB
8% KOBE BRYANT, LAKERS F
8% TIGER WOODS, GOLFER